The retailer is integrating its Sainsbury’s and Argos operations to make cost savings and also plans to close its Milton Keynes office.
Sainsbury’s will close two Argos depots over the next three years in a move that will affect over 1,400 jobs. The Argos warehouses in Basildon, Essex, and a depot in Heywood, Greater Manchester, have been earmarked for closure by 2026, affecting both Sainsbury’s staff and those who work for an outsourced contractor. The roles have been put into consultation.
The company is combining its Sainsbury’s and Argos operations in order to cut costs, consolidating its general merchandise logistics network, and also revealed plans to close its Milton Keynes office. A spokesperson said that this was in response to flexible working arrangements across the group, and would not affect any office roles.
Around £90m will be invested in automating its Daventry depot, which will enable it to reduce stock, offer more responsive delivery to customers and stores, and give suppliers a simpler delivery process.
These changes, alongside the expansion of Sainsbury’s local fulfilment centre network, have been designed to create “a simpler, more modern network” which would significantly improve availability and enable faster customer deliveries.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said it was a difficult decision, but explained that the business needed to become more efficient. “Over the last few years, we’ve been working hard to transform this network as we make our business simpler, more efficient and more effective for customers,” he said. “This also allows us to reduce costs, so we can invest where it will make the most impact for our customers.”
He added: “We understand that this will be an unsettling time for affected colleagues, and we will support them however we can throughout this process. We will be consulting closely with unions and colleagues as we look to streamline the number of sites in our general merchandise logistics network.”
The retailer said affected staff would get the chance to “explore alternative roles” within Sainsbury’s and Argos.
Sainsbury’s has been gradually integrating Argos, which it bought along with Habitat in 2016, into its wider business for several years. In 2020, it began to shut Argos shops in high street locations, moving 150 of them into Sainsbury’s stores and cutting thousands of jobs in the process. This process in ongoing, with a further round of Argos standalone store closures recently announced.
The company said the closure of its office in Milton Keynes is due to the growth of flexible working since Covid, stating that “on average only 11% of available desk space is regularly used by colleagues”.